Did Town Politics Lead to Murder?
A new book in Barbara Ross’s Maine Clambake Mystery series is always a reason to celebrate. I was especially interested to see where she was going to go with some storylines in Muddled Through. As always, the book was wonderful.
Spring has sprung, and Julia is beginning to work toward opening the Snowden Family Clambake for the year. However, she keeps being distracted by the big controversy in town - the proposal to turn the downtown shopping area into a pedestrian mall on Friday and Saturday nights during the summer tourist season. On opposite sides of the controversy are Zoey Butterfield, owner of the Lupine Design pottery studio and her neighbor, Phinney Hardison. This is just the latest in their ongoing disputes.
So when Julia’s sister, Livvie, finds Zoey’s shop vandalized when she goes to open one morning, Phinney is the obvious suspect. However, before the police can make their case, someone is murdered. Julia has questions, and she can’t help but investigate. Is the pedestrian mall the motive for the violence? Or is something else going on?
Fans of the series will note that this book takes place almost a year after the events of Shucked Apart, the previous book in the series. I found that interesting when I realized it and wondered how that would impact those storylines I was talking about earlier. Don’t worry, we get the logical next steps in those stories. I’m still curious to see just how those stories play out in future books.
What I really appreciated about these storylines is how they contributed to some real growth for Julia. She’s always been a strong character, but I can definitely see how what she is dealing with is making her grow. Of course, she leads a great cast of characters, and I enjoyed seeing a bit more of some of the regulars then we’ve seen for a few books. And the new characters are good as well.
No, all this isn’t to say that the mystery of this book takes a back seat to the stuff I’ve been talking about so far. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The plot is strong, and the pacing is steady. As if often the case, I found myself in awe at the end as I realized just how the clues had been layered into the story along the way.
With all the talk about the storylines that carry over from the previous book in the series, I am going to put in a plug for reading the series in order. You could easily jump in here since the background you need is explained. However, what happens will mean more to you if you have the full background. And, since this is such a great series, you are going to want to read them all anyway, so why not go back to the beginning.
As always, we get some recipes at the end of the book. This time, there are half a dozen, and they range from soup to a cocktail.
Fans who have been waiting impatiently for Muddled Through will be very happy with this book. I can’t wait to visit Julia again.
Here are the rest of the Maine Clambake Mysteries.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.